Ethan Sullivan Smith portrays Johnny Green - Civil Was Orphan Brigade Survivor on Sept. 16 at the Kentucky Artisan Cener
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Johnny Green – Civil War Orphan Brigade Survivor Portrayed Sept. 16 at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
On Sunday, Sept. 16, actor Ethan Sullivan Smith will portray a Confederate soldier in a Kentucky Chautauqua performance titled “Johnny Green – An Orphan’s Survival 1841-1920,” at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. The performance at 2 p.m. is free and open to the public.
Green was 19 when the American Civil War broke out, and he was one of the few soldiers in Kentucky’s Confederate “Orphan Brigade” alive when it ended. Though he had learned to love the Union from his Boston-born mother, Green felt passionately that states should have the right to govern themselves. So when President Abraham Lincoln called for men and arms, Green left his job in Florence, Ala., traveled to Bowling Green, Ky., and joined the Confederacy the day before his 20th birthday.
Green served as an enlisted man with Kentucky's famed “Orphan Brigade” throughout the Civil War, and fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Atlanta and many other crucial battles. His regiment lost nearly all of its strength in two years of fighting, and remaining members were unable to return to their home state of Kentucky until the war was over — lest they be tried for treason — because they chose to fight for the Confederacy.
An acute observer with a flair for humanizing the impersonal horror of war, Green kept a record of his experiences, and penned a front-line account of his day-to-day experiences in a journal written years later for his daughters. This journal provides extraordinary accounts of courage and bravery, and was the foundation for actor Smith’s research, offering first-hand insight and fueling Smith’s credible portrayal of Green.
Smith, of Cynthiana, first started acting at age 6 at Georgetown College Theatre, where his father teaches theater and performance. He participated in speech competitions throughout middle school and was a three-time state champion in prose interpretation and public speaking. Smith was accepted into the Chautauqua Program of the Kentucky Humanities Council when he was 13.
Audiences for Smith’s Chautauqua performances have been entranced by his enthusiasm, stage presence and credibility. Kentucky Humanities Council reviews have stated that Smith’s performances are marked with power, clarity and expressiveness.
Smith’s credits also include the Georgetown Children’s Theatre and the Kentucky On Stage series at Georgetown College. He is currently a student at Georgetown College, and just completed the spring semester of his junior year at Oxford University in England.
This free performance and portrayal of “Johnny Green – An Orphan’s Survival 1841-1920,” will be held Sunday, Sept. 16, beginning at 2 p.m., in the private dining room of the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. As a part of the Kentucky Humanities Council’s Chautauqua Series, this program is funded in part by both the Kentucky Humanities Council Inc. and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, 200 Artisan Way, is located just off Interstate 75 at Berea exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.
The center currently features works by more than 650 artisans from 100 counties across the Commonwealth and a special exhibition, “The Threads that Bind: Textile Works by Kentucky Artisans,” on display through Feb. 23, 2013. For information call 859-985-5448 or visit the center’s website at www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov.
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.